Blog

 
     

How Do Reference Checks Work?

By Michael Klazema on 12/4/2018

In conversations about pre-employment background checks, work history verifications and reference checks are often lumped into the same category. In reality, these checks are different from one another. A work history check involves communicating with the human resources departments at companies for which the candidate used to work. These checks are mostly intended to verify the objective details presented on the candidate’s resume, including job title, responsibilities, and dates of employment. Reference check questions are typically used to get a subjective viewpoint of a candidate.

Many hiring managers will ask each candidate to deliver a list of references along with their resume. References can include both personal acquaintances and business acquaintances. A recent college graduate entering the job market for the first time, for instance, might list a professor or advisor as a reference. More experienced professionals are likely to list bosses, managers, or colleagues from work as references.

Work reference checks are different even from work history verifications. HR representatives tend to be discerning with the details they give out about former employees: they will verify basic facts but try to avoid giving subjective input on the individual in question. This tight-lipped tendency has to do largely with defamation. Businesses can find themselves in legal hot water if they criticize a former employee and ruin that person’s chances at a new job.

When performing a reference check, hiring managers (or their background check companies) have a little more leeway in the questions they can ask. References are individuals that candidates themselves have identified as being able to speak subjectively on their behalves. In most cases, candidates will even contact the people they are listing on their reference lists to ensure those individuals are willing to speak on their behalves.

As a result, reference check questions seek to learn more about a person’s performance, skills, accomplishments, and overall work ethic. A reference check is useful for learning about a candidate’s dependability or character, for finding out about that person’s ability to work as part of a team, and to assess an applicant’s fit within a company’s work culture. What did the candidate accomplish at the previous job? What did the candidate’s coworkers think of him or her? Is the candidate a good fit for the job at hand? How well does the candidate handle criticism? These questions can all be posed during a work reference check.

Reference checks are an extremely useful means for employers to learn more about the people they are thinking about hiring. However, the reference check process can also be extremely time-consuming. At backgroundchecks.com, we offer an affordable way to outsource your reference verification checks. We can contact your candidate’s references, ask important questions, and record the findings in an easy-to-read report.

Using the insight from our reports, you can make more informed decisions on who to hire. Click here to learn more about our reference check product.


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • July 16 A New Jersey organization that was administering federal grant-funded programs has agreed to pay a $1.1 million settlement for failing to conduct background checks on 46 volunteers.
  • July 11 Under an innovative program that went into effect July 1, Pennsylvania will automatically seal many old criminal records. 
  • July 09 In October, the Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program will officially go into effect. Here’s what employers in the state need to know about the law.
  • July 04 Despite the failure of a full-scale legalization effort, New York state has reduced cannabis-related penalties and introduced automatic expungement.
  • July 03 Preparing for the employment background check process can improve your chances of getting hired. Here’s how to do it.
  • July 02 Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina stopped fingerprinting new hires last July even though board policy requires fingerprinting during pre-hire background checks. The fingerprinting “pause” caused alarm in the Charlotte community.
  • June 27 In 2012, the EEOC published new guidelines instructing employers not to use blanket bans against applicants with criminal records. The state of Texas sued. Today, arguments continue in federal circuit court.
  • June 25 Learn the differences between infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies and what each run-in with the law means for a background check report.
  • June 25 A recent federal court ruling has called into question how employers should observe the FCRA when filling independent contractor positions rather than full- or part-time jobs. Many sections of the FCRA are only relevant if background checks are intended for “employment purposes.”
  • June 20 The ACLU has filed suit against the owner of an apartment complex in Virginia alleging discriminatory practices. The owner contends otherwise.